Fly Ash

Fly Ash:
  • Fly ash is one of the coal combustion by-products and is composed of fine particles that are driven out of the boiler with flue gases. Ash that falls at the bottom of the boiler is called bottom ash.
  • Fly ash includes substantial amounts of oxides of silica, aluminium and calcium. Element like Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, lead etc. are also found in trace concentrations. It, thus, poses hazards to environment and health.
  • Due to the presence of these minerals it has certain unique properties. It can be used as construction material, filling old mines, building railway embankments, and reclamation of low-lying areas.
  • The fly ash is collected with the help of electrostatic precipitators and is converted into a wet slurry to minimise fugitive dust emissions. It is then transported to the scientifically designed ash ponds through slurry pipelines.
  • However, the gross under-utilisation of this by-product over the years has led to the accumulation of 1,670 million tonnes of fly ash.
What has the NGT done to overcome the underutilisation of Fly Ash?
  • The National Green Tribunal(NGT) has directed the constitution of a ‘Fly Ash Management and Utilisation Mission’.
  • Goals of the Commission:
    • To coordinate and monitor issues relating to the handling and disposal of fly ash and associated issues.
    • To make the roadmaps and progress in fly ash utilisation available for all thermal power plants and their clusters.
  • Headed by: The Mission is to be jointly headed by the Secretaries of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Union Ministry of Coal and Power. There will also be Chief Secretaries of concerned states on board.
  • Nodal Agency: The secretary of MoEF&CC will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance.
What is the issue with the constitution of the Fly Ash Management Mission?
  • There are some overlaps and distinctions in the responsibilities allocated to the committees under the Fly Ash Notification, 2021 and the Fly Ash Management and Utilisation Mission.
  • The 2021 notification has made provision for the enforcement, monitoring, audit and reporting of the progress of fly ash utilisation and implementation of the clauses of the notification by coal thermal power plants and user agencies.
  • The notification holds the Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB) / Pollution Control Committees(PCC) responsible for monitoring the effective implementation of mandates under it.

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